Note to readers, attached is the complete final report for FNE94-038.
Because all the minor breed turkeys we raised are very active birds that love to fly, they sure were different at the table! In the fall when we were processing the turkeys for the holidays, we did a few of the breeds from this project. Well, that was where we could really see that as eating birds, they aren’t sell able. At the same age as our commercial birds, these barely weighed 8 pounds dressed for the hens and 11 pounds for the toms. This compares to 14 for the commercial hens and 17-20 pounds for the tomes. Well, because you think we have come up with the small turkeys you are looking for, there is also eating quality to consider. They were muscled up like beef and therefore tough as shoe leather. Also, there wasn’t any finish to the carcass which was part of the problem.
The only possibility was to try to keep them longer to see if they would get better. This is what we did, however the results never got better. About the only use for them as meat was to boil them and make turkey broth out of them. A very expensive broth! Finally we gave the remaining ones away at our local fair in the fall of 1995.
In conclusion, we feel that while this had some good aspects, that overall, these turkeys aren’t something that we could sell to anyone for their holiday meal. And to do any genetic breeding would require much more money and time then we have to commit to at this time. We do feel that we can safely say that they don’t represent any economic consideration for meat producing farmers. Only for bird fanciers who should be encouraged to continue to breed them so we don’t lose the genes. There are only three breeders of commercial turkeys in this country, so a genetic problem could arise where these birds might be needed to recreate the steps we took to get to the birds of today.